At the ninth time of asking, NEC Harlequins recorded their first Zurich Premiership victory of the season and they did it in emphatic style by scoring six tries in a 40-10 defeat of Saracens. Mel Deane opened the scoring after just 13 seconds, while man-of-the-match Nick Easter collected two tries as Quins built up a 33-point advantage in the first half.
Deane made the most of a mix-up in the Saracens midfield straight from the kick-off, with the Quins centre gathering a loose ball to sprint over unopposed from 20 metres out. Staunton converted and then added the two extra points on offer after Easter had powered his way over for his first try with just seven minutes on the clock. Dafydd James made a break and took play into the Saracens twenty-two. Roy Winters and George Harder carried the move on, before Easter was driven over by the rest of the Quins pack.
Three minutes later and Quins dream start to the match continued as Tom Williams dived over for the home sides third try. The full back gratefully accepted a scoring pass from Simon Keogh, with the winger making ground down the left flank after quick ball was secured from a ruck. Staunton again found the target with the conversion and Quins were 21 points clear.
The bonus point try followed with only 14 minutes played. Easter set-up the opportunity in the Saracens twenty-two, after brilliantly picking up the ball from the base of a lineout. Play then went wide with Tony Diprose releasing Mike Worsley, who fended off a challenge and sprinted over for Quins fourth try of the night.
Staunton missed his only kick of the match from wide out on the right but made no mistake adding the extra's following Easter's second touchdown 13 minutes before the interval, with the Quins flanker finishing off a move involving Staunton and Harder.
Keogh should have made things worse for Saracens just three minutes later but knocked the ball on over the line after leaving a trail of defenders behind him, having gathered a Glen Jackson drop out.
Leading 33-0, Quins completed their scoring in the match shortly after the restart. Backs and forwards combined to take play into the heart of the Saracens twenty-two, but a turnover of possession looked to have allowed the visitors to clear the danger. However, scrum half Moses Raulini had his kick charged down by Winters allowing the Quins second row to gather the loose ball and power his way over into the left hand corner. Staunton converted from the touchline to move Quins onto the 40-point mark.
The rest of the match was dominated by Saracens, with Quins unable to reassert their authority and add to their tally. The visitors finally got on the scoreboard six minutes before the final quarter began, as winger Tevita Vaikona capitalised on an overlap created down the left but replacement Mark Bartholomeusz missed the conversion.
With 80 minutes on the clock, Paul Bailey broke through a gap in the Quins defence and sprinted over for Saracens second try, though Bartholomeusz again failed to add the two extra points.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.